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Battling It Out On TV
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Many times brands have another brand that is its top competition. It’s good in a sense, hard in another. It means the brand is consistently striving to get better, make advances, and win over customers from the other business. This competition also means there is an ongoing battle of “this” versus “that.” A lot of comparison around the two brands, some of which is direct and much of it that comes through inferences. Many times those brands that directly compare themselves to another and scream that they are the best are the ones that are ignored. The message is too direct and to be honest no one likes a know-it-all. But sometimes stating the facts in a sense of comparison works. And this time Microsoft wins and Apple is just standing on the sidelines.

Microsoft is playing the one-on-one game in its newest TV spot. Showcasing its Windows 8 tablet against the iPad, Microsoft clearly yet simply points out the differences. What this new tablet can do and what the iPad simply can’t even compete with. It’s easy for viewers to understand, a bit comical, and gives those Microsoft naysayers a reason to listen. And as much as this tactic tends to seem annoying and boastful, Microsoft makes it work. It’s real, it’s demonstrated quite clearly, and it makes a statement. So much so that this little TV spot has gone viral. In a good way. Well, in a good way for Microsoft.

There are many branding tactics available to marketers. But just because the option is out there doesn’t mean it should be a choice for all brands. Here Microsoft takes an age-old strategy of comparison and makes it work. But it’s not forced. The brand clearly did its homework and determined it needed to draw out the benefits and realized the best way to do this was to compare against what every consumer considers the standard. And Microsoft definitely updated this old strategy by making the entire comparison visual and quite funny. It’s taking a branding basic and updating and customizing to benefit the business.

Just because a branding tactic is available does not mean brands should have the option to use it. Seems silly, but it also needs to be said. Just because everyone else is jumping off the bridge doesn’t mean you should — sound familiar? If a strategy is going to be successful for a brand it must be evaluated to make sure it fits the goals of the business. Sure, there were other options Microsoft could have chosen to market its new tablet, but this is the one that had the most impact, delivered the message, and worked for the brand. 

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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